On the night of November 26, 2008, Mumbai, the city that never sleeps, was awake because of a horrific reason. Our beloved city was under attack. A handful of terrorists held it at gunpoint, going on a mass murder spree not sparing anyone who appeared in front of their hate-fuelled eyes. However, in the midst of all this, we also got to witness acts of superheroism.
Our bravehearts did all in their power to defeat this menace, and victorious we emerged against the face of evil. One such man of valour who stood in the face of adversity and fought with his heart and soul was Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan. The 31-year-old army man serving in the elite 51 Special Action Group of the National Security Guards was martyred during Operation Black Tornado in a five-star hotel on that fateful night. Bringing to life his extraordinary story is south superstar Adivi Sesh through his upcoming film Major. Directed by Sashi Kiran Tikka, the film will hit screens on February 11, 2022. We caught up with the actor and K Unnikrishnan, the late martyr’s father, for a conversation. Excerpts:
How did you decide to write the script and act in Major?
I feel everything was predestined and my luck. One day, I called Major Sandeep’s parents (K. Unnikrishnan and Dhanalakshmi Unnikrishnan). When I spoke to them, they were not ready to make his biography. However, they agreed to meet me. When I visited them for the first time, it was a small discussion with the family. With time, it became my goal to understand his mind, heart, soul and being. During the course of our meetings, we shared a close bond. I always felt like a 5th-grade kid whenever I met them.
Do you feel like they are now a part of your family?
I don’t know about uncle auntie, but it’s my sincere intention of making them my real family. We always spoke about Major Sandeep, not about the film.
How was it to interact one on one with Dhanalakshmi? Did it help you prepare for the role better?
I would ask auntie about Major Sandeep during our conversations. Our bond, along with my journey and listening about him, became more important. I knew more about his inner self. Thus rather than thinking of wearing the costumes, the huge sets or emoting for a scene, my fundamental feeling and desire was to go beyond the realm of the film. I want to look after the family. They are here only because they feel the same way and have a sense of family.
What did you learn about Major Sandeep?
Since the first wave of the Covid-19 outbreak, I got more time to meet the parents. I could know more about his likes – his love for animals. He would always like to relish his favourite bun and recite Hindi/English rhymes to auntie. I would love to sit together with them and reminisce about someone who is not there. I don’t know how uncle and auntie may be feeling on a daily basis.
Major Sandeep's father speaks...
How did you get convinced to allow the making of Major?
Adivi Sesh convinced us, and Sashi spoke to me too. I will watch the movie only then I shall certify it to 100 per cent until then I will give it between 70 to 80 per cent. The shoot is over, and the release date is announced. Before we met Adivi Sesh, there must have been about a dozen people who spoke to me. I took it as one of such claims. I didn’t want to commit anything. I have not seen his films, but I have watched a few clips. I want to see Adivi Sesh in Major first; only then I will see his film Goodachari.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)